Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Show some civic pride

Yeah, yeah, you heart NY. Big deal. Everyone hearts NY.

But what if you heart Goulburn, Cockermouth or Yuba City? It’s not so easy to let everyone know. You can’t just stop by some unlicensed roadside souvenir seller to grab a t-shirt or pick up a stubbie holder for your beer. If you really love Goulburn,Cockermouth or Yuba City, you’re going to have to do a little work. But remember: love you’ve worked on is worth so much more than love you’ve bought.

What is it about Yuba City that really cranks your dial? What do the people who live in Cockermouth know about it that no one else knows about? Is there an in-joke about Goulburn that out-of-towners just won’t get?

Stick it on a t-shirt.

If you like a bit of glamour, pop into your local craft store and get yourself a Bedazzler and some puffy fabric paint. Or maybe you’d prefer iron-on varsity letters. If you have a printer, you can design a t-shirt on your computer and print it out onto iron-on transfer paper. If you don’t, go low-rent with a Sharpie and a white t-shirt.

You might be surprised how many people stop you and ask where you got the t-shirt (this is less likely to happen if you’ve scrawled on a white t-shirt with a Sharpie, of course). It feels pretty good to say, ‘Oh, I made it myself’. Alternatively, if the person is really desperate to get one of their own, you can claim to have bought it at some tiny shop about two hours’ drive away that’s only open on weekday mornings.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

‘Note the physiognomy of the line, representative of an overarching symbolism…’

String these phrases together: ‘great historical significance’; ‘a sublime expression of the creator’s philosophy’; ‘archetypical, yet ahead of its time’. Got it? OK, you are now a tour guide.

Get a group of friends together and hit your town’s cultural hotspot: a museum, a gallery, a stately home, an architectural wonder, the seat of government. If you don’t have anything approaching a cultural hotspot, go to Safeway or a car yard instead. (In fact, that’s an even better idea…)

Take turns playing tour guide: use your imagination, speak loudly, and whatever you do don’t include a single accurate fact. Talk, talk, talk! Hold up an umbrella so no one gets lost. You know you’re really doing well when strangers start joining in (if you’re feeling very ambitious, you could advertise your free tour in the local paper). Points are awarded for style and plausibility.